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Abstract

Role morality refers to the special obligations and rights that are associated with occupying certain professional roles—lawyer, doctor, journalist, soldier and others. There are a number of moral puzzles peculiar to this domain. To what extent can someone whose role involves acting in someone else’s behalf avoid being blamed for aiding him in actions he would be blamed for if acting outside that role? What is one to make of situations in which the performance of one’s role seems to call for the actors to engage in conflicting behavior, for example, two lawyers representing two disputing clients? Is it coherent to speak of some roles as involving obligations to institutions rather than to people? In this chapter the problems are spelled out, the current debate surveyed and tentatively different conclusions from the established ones are suggested.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    She does leave a small window for certain types of perspectivalism in cases in which one of the two actors is excused rather than justified in what he is doing: a prisoner who makes a justifiable jail break because he would otherwise have been killed by a fellow prisoner ends up in a tussle with the prison guard who tries to prevent him from fleeing.

  2. 2.

    The example is merely meant to be illustrative. Various ways of making the duressdefense transitive might suggest themselves. Rather than arguing about why those strategies are unattractive, it is more fruitful to establish the general result that feasible legal systems must contain lots of doctrines that work the way the duress doctrine ordinarily works. This we do in Katz and Sandroni (2017). The same applies to other doctrinal illustrations we offer later in this section.

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Correspondence to Leo Katz .

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Katz, L., Sandroni, A. (2019). Role Morality. In: Alexander, L., Kessler Ferzan, K. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Applied Ethics and the Criminal Law. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-22811-8_29

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